Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A usually short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like humans.
  • noun A story about legendary persons and exploits.
  • noun A falsehood; a lie.
  • intransitive verb To recount as if true.
  • intransitive verb To compose fables.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To talk.
  • To speak or write fiction; tell imaginary stories.
  • To speak falsely; misrepresent; lie: often used euphemistically.
  • To feign; invent; devise or fabricate; describe or relate feigningly.
  • noun A story; a tale; particularly, a feigned or invented story or tale, intended to instruct or amuse; a fictitious narrative devised to enforce some useful truth or precept, or to introduce indirectly some opinion, in which imaginary persons or beings as well as animals, and even inanimate things, are represented as speakers or actors; an apologue.
  • noun A story or history untrue in fact or substance, invented or “developed by popular or poetic fancy or superstition and to some extent or at one time current in popular belief as true or real; a legend; a myth.
  • noun A story fabricated to deceive; a fiction; a falsehood; a lie: as, the story is all a fable.
  • noun The plot or connected series of events in an epic or dramatic poem founded on imagination.
  • noun Subject of talk; gossip; byword.
  • noun Synonyms Allegory, Parable, etc. (see simile).
  • noun Invention, fabrication, hoax.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To compose fables; hence, to write or speak fiction ; to write or utter what is not true.
  • noun A Feigned story or tale, intended to instruct or amuse; a fictitious narration intended to enforce some useful truth or precept; an apologue. See the Note under apologue.
  • noun The plot, story, or connected series of events, forming the subject of an epic or dramatic poem.
  • noun Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
  • noun Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
  • transitive verb To feign; to invent; to devise, and speak of, as true or real; to tell of falsely.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A fictitious narration intended to enforce some useful truth or precept, usually with animals, birds etc as characters; an apologue. Prototypically, Aesop's Fables.
  • noun Any story told to excite wonder; common talk; the theme of talk.
  • noun Fiction; untruth; falsehood.
  • verb intransitive, archaic To compose fables; hence, to write or speak fiction ; to write or utter what is not true.
  • verb transitive, archaic To feign; to invent; to devise, and speak of, as true or real; to tell of falsely.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a deliberately false or improbable account
  • noun a short moral story (often with animal characters)
  • noun a story about mythical or supernatural beings or events

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin fābula, from fārī, to speak; see bhā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old French fable, from Latin fabula, from fari ("to speak, say"). See Ban, and compare fabulous, fame.

Examples

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